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Rules for Up & Down the River Card Game

Cards used in Up and Down The River
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Up and Down the River is a simple trick-taking card game. It is a game of precision, though, as players are rewarded for predicting the exact number of tricks they will take in a single hand. The game of Up and Down the River involves multiple rounds, with the highest score at the end of the last round winning the game.

Number of Players

The game of Up and Down The River can be played by between three and seven players. According to the Pagat.com website, the ideal number of players is between four and six.

Object Of The Game

The goal in Up and Down The River is to bid the exact number of tricks you will win. The rules of the game state that the number of tricks bid must be more than the number of tricks played for that round.


Legal bids include any number from zero up to the number of cards dealt for that round. The dealer is required to make a bid that will bring the total number of tricks bid by all players higher than the number of cards dealt for that round.

Determining The Trump Suit

The bidding is not used to determine the trump suit. Instead, this suit is determined randomly by flipping a card face up after each player has received the required number of cards for that hand. The suit of that card is the trump suit.

Trick Taking

The player to the left of the dealer plays any card he wishes to start the first trick. Players must follow suit if they have a card in that suit. Otherwise, the player can play any suit including a trump card. The trick is won by the highest trump card played; if no trump card is played, it is won by the player playing the highest card in the suit led. The winner of the trick leads the first card for the next trick.


Each trick won during the hand is worth one point. At the end of the hand, any player that wins exactly the number of tricks they bid receives a 10-point bonus. Penalties are not assessed for failing to win as many tricks as a player had bid.

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